Teacher in Lawas goes extra mile to help students in rural areas

Dedication: Nazmi handing over printed lessons to a student at Long Lidung village, Sarawak. – Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

HIS rural students lacked Internet access for online classes, so Muhammad Nazmi Rosli would deliver learning materials to them to ensure they don’t fall behind in their schoolwork during the movement control order.

Nazmi teaches English and Art at SK Long Sukang, located in a village about three hours by timber road from Lawas town in northern Sarawak.

Despite the “terrible” road conditions, he has no qualms going the extra mile for his pupils.

“I’m the only teacher who lives in Lawas; the other teachers have gone back to the Peninsula, Sabah or their home villages. They will forward their learning materials to me and I will print them out, ” he said.

As the teachers were unable to conduct online classes, they decided to distribute learning materials to the students instead.

(The 111 students, who come from Long Sukang and the surrounding villages, lacked Internet access and mobile phone coverage.)

According to The Star, to deliver the materials, Nazmi liaised with a villager who comes to Lawas once a week to bring food supplies to the villages.

“The district education office helped me get permission to visit the villages. One or two teachers stay in the villages and helped me to distribute the materials.

“We are strictly supervised by a health clinic representative. The kids need to wash their hands before and after receiving the materials.

“We don’t gather them in one place to distribute the materials but go house to house. We also try to minimise the number of people involved.”

Nazmi managed to distribute materials to all SK Long Sukang students in 13 villages in three trips so far, starting on April 1.

“Every week, we give them two subjects. One week was English and Maths and the following week was Bahasa Malaysia and Science. I also collect the work they have done so their teachers can assess their progress.”

For Nazmi, 27, doing this was no hardship as it meant the pupils would not be left out.

“We want them to be able to compete like their urban counterparts, who have so many platforms to do online classes.

“Here in the rural area, we don’t have many options, so we do what we can.

“No children left behind — that’s our school’s motivation, ” he said.

He said the students were happy to receive the materials and eager to go back to school.

“They love going to school because it offers them many activities.

“I gave my students a project to complete and I just received a message that one of them can’t wait to show his work,”  he said.

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